Monthly Archives: June 2011

Baby Goats Are Stupid

Do you hate nature?  Could you care less about old people and people with physical disabilities?  Do you detest children? Do baby goats make you want to stomp something small?

If so, then you surely won’t care about the major changes the KY State Nature Preserves Commission is proposing for natural areas in the Bluegrass State. If you said “no” to any of the above, and you live in Lebanucky, or, as some from outside my family’s cultural bubble call it, “Kentucky”, then please read on and send an email to this Don fella.

This is excerpted from the Blackacre State Nature Preserve mailing:

“The Kentucky State Nature Preserves Commission (ksnpc) is proposing new regulations for Kentucky’s nature preserves. proposed new guidelines are 400 kar 2:090

 These proposed regulations will go into effect unless written objections are submitted to Don.Dott@KY.Gov by June 30th!!

These new regulations affect the following activities for ky nature preserves including blackacre

 what changes would affect blackacre and other nature preserves?

“access track ten feet in width” – section 5(2)(b): (no turn around for buses, no access for vehicles with ramps for handicapped visitors)

 “a trail shall be designed to affect only part of the nature preserve”  – section 7(1)(a): this could severely limit the length of trails and visitors’ ability to experience different ecosystems

 “natural wildlife paths are restricted to single file width to allow one person to pass another but not wide enough for two people to walk abreast of one another” – Section 7(2)(3): (mothers with children, elderly who need help walking, school kids who like to walk in pairs, people who like to share nature hand in hand could no longer walk nature paths. how will people support natural areas in the future if they cannot learn about and experience nature in our nature preserves?

 “minimal impact on natural features” – section 7(a): this could limit the ability to create accessible trails for wheelchairs, or provide provide stable, firm surfaces for people who have difficulty walking. our population is aging, and those who have supported nature preserves may not be able to enjoy them in the future

 “any other structure shall be located in a service area”- section 8(2): no restrooms could be located in a nature preserve. this includes the blackacre homestead.

 “measures shall not be taken to alter natural growth or features for enhancing the beauty, neatness or amenities of a nature preserve” – section 10(1): this could prevent mowing the homestead grounds at blackacre, or maintaining trails through the hay fields, long grass fields or access to ponds. it could restrict maintenance of dams on existing man-made ponds (dragonfly, spring house and jackson ponds at blackacre)

 “the following activities shall be prohibited: a. grazing by domestic animals b. farming c. spreading of …other materials” – section 10(a)(b)(f): blackacre could no longer have farm animals, a demonstration heirloom teaching garden, haying (for farm animal food), composting for our garden, or mulch on trails

 “water levels that have been altered by humans may be changed” – section 11: this could result in removing blackacre’s man made ponds (dragonfly, spring house and jackson ponds)

 “camping, picnicking, building fires, using audio equipment shall be prohibited at all times” – section 15(10): this would end school group and rental picnics, wedding rentals, concerts, re-enactors (limited camping) and pioneer activity demonstrations requiring a fire

 “a person wishing to engage in research or educational activities…shall secure prior permission of the commission” – section 18 (1): the commission could restrict activities such as pioneer day, harvest festival, star gazing, crafts, etc.

 “Material for classroom laboratory observation or study shall not be collected”: this could prohibit collection of water samples, insects, and amphibians for observation at blackacre’s environmental education program (note: all samples are returned safely to their sources)

 blackacre state nature preserve is a magical place and different from other nature preserves. we are an historic homestead, environmental education center, and an old farm. we do not have rare or endangered species or an unusual habitat. help us protect and preserve blackacre for the purpose it was founded!

please email your comments to don.dott@ky.gov

I certainly think there should be regulations to protect our natural places (for example, I’m not against limiting trails through preserves).  Seriously, though, we’re allowing the removal of entire mountaintops in Kentucky, but we’re so serious about nature preserves that we’re willing to pick on old folks?

Here’s a copy of my letter to the Commission.

Hello,

I’m writing to express my concern with the proposed changes to the governance of Kentucky’s nature preserves.  Although I see the benefit of some of the changes, I believe many other of the propositions will produce a grievous bias against certain populations’ ability to enjoy our nature preserves.  For example, Section 5(2)(B) would make it impossible for vehicles with handicap ramps to enter a nature preserve.  Sections 7(2)(3) and 7(A) would create trails that would not be accessible to people in wheelchairs or who have difficulty walking, such as elderly people or disabled people who use walkers and other assisted-walking devices.    I believe that preserves where the trails are already handicap accessible should be grandfathered in order to allow them to maintain their accessibility, and others that would like to be accessible should be able to petition for an exception to the regulations.

I have other concerns that apply particularly to Blackacre State Nature Preserve in Louisville.  Blackacre is an historic working farm and homestead and teaching facility beloved by all in our area.  It’s been a place for schoolchildren, many of them from our inner city, to learn about farm life though direct interaction with farm animals such as baby goats and donkeys, to have an experiential lesson in our state’s rich history and heritage, as well as to learn about our natural habitat and thereby develop a sense of responsibility for the environment.  Almost all of the proposals, it seems, will negatively impact places like Blackacre, and the people who benefit from it.

Please take these issues into consideration.

Thank you for your time.

Sincerely,

B.O., Esquire

Just look at this frickin’ thing.  Gah!

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Bob’s Law of Twos

My cat is on a killing spree.

A week ago, I discovered two squirrel tails in the alcove by our back steps, behind the bike trailer and gardening supplies.  Well, it was one squirrel tail, and another squirrel tail with part of a butt.  It’s important to be clear.

Tonight: two moles.  One on our back door mat (our main entrance and exit).  The other, smaller mole, in the same alcove.  Half eaten.  Again, for clarity’s sake.

Here’s how it went down.  Bob is hidden in the onions.  He is tired of hearing complaints about sections of garden lost to tunneling varmints.  He has watched in mild disgust during the weeks the human with glass eyes has spent trying to “trap” them in buried glass jars.  “Trap” is in quotations because Bob does not know this word.  Bob does not know “trap”.  Bob only knows “KILLKILLKILL”.  Bob has decided to show Glasseyes how it is done.

Bob waits in the onions for darkness to fall.  Dark is the Time of the Hunt.  A time for stalking prey.  A time for … murder.

Finally.  A muted scuffing noise.  It is an underground beast.  Good; Bob enjoys a challenge.  Silently, as if time stands still, Bob lifts one paw.  And waits.  Bob sets the paw down.  Moves forward imperceptibly.  Bob lifts another paw.  And waits.  Bob sets the paw down.  Et cetera.

Several hours later, the tiny grey head appears above ground – the butt wiggle!  The spring! The mighty roar of attack, the claws sinking in! Bob has caught his prey! But wait, what’s this? Another mole has emerged from the underground lair! Enraged at the brutal assassination of its mate, it bares its disgusting yellow teeth and squints its eyes in hatred! Bob is confused for he thought that moles had no eyes! But no matter, for the battle is on! For like 3 seconds! Then – a SECOND mole dead!  The feeling is wonderful, not unlike killing two squirrels in one day last week. Clearly, killing by twos is the way to go.

There are two plush little wild bunnies living in the acre behind our house.  Ry named them Juicyflower and Nibbles.  Secretly I thought we should name them Stewmeat and Luckyfoot, because we all know where this is going.  Last spring we had rabbits, and I found tufts of plushy fur, a poofy little tail and a set of eyeballs in the alcove.